by Jimmey Jackson Jr.
These days, it seems like one of the more prevalent concerns among parents and educators is that children just aren’t reading anymore. Then again, in an age of pulse-quickening video games, endless cable channels, attention-sucking mobile phone apps, and unlimited internet access, the idea of picking up a book can seem downright quaint. Thankfully, due to a handful of popular authors and their captivating characters, reading hasn’t totally fallen out of favor. However, getting kids to read books that don’t feature boy wizards and sparkling vampires may still prove to be a difficult task. Luckily, we’ve got some ideas on how to encourage your kids to read more, and more variedly.
With a little effort you can help your kids find the right books to match their interests. Do they like dinosaurs? Fairies and magic? Mythological Greek gods settling their conflicts with a not-so-friendly game of football? There are books out there that tackle these subjects and many more obscure ones. You can find recommendations at sites like The Young Adult Library Services Association, Oprah’s Kids’ Reading List, and Drop Everything and Read. These are great sources for narrowing down the vast field of children’s and young adult books to find one your kid will love.
If they need a little push, offer kids rewards and incentives for reading. Maybe let them stay up past their bedtime if the time is spent reading. Or perhaps exchange a minute of television or video game time for every minute of reading. Perhaps you’ll find that your children will want to polish off another chapter instead of blowing up aliens on their PlayStation.
The recent explosion of tablets and e-readers makes having access to books easier than ever before. These devices can hold hundreds, even thousands, of e-books, meaning your children can have a virtual library at their fingertips anytime. And you needn’t worry about spending a fortune to fill your child’s e-reader to capacity. Countless websites are devoted to the electronic distribution of literature; for example, Project Gutenberg offers the web’s largest single collection of free e-books.
It may take time and encouragement to instill a love of reading in your child, but once you do it’s as if you’ve pulled back a curtain and showed them a new dimension to their young lives. Books are ultimately transporting; they let you slip through time, travel to the far reaches of the galaxy, and even live another person’s life. Once your children discover the extraordinary power of books, they’ll almost never want to put them down.